So Sorry––Never Sorry. Ai Weiwei’s Art between Tradition and Modernity


  • Tania Becker



traditional Chinese materials, contemporary art, Chinese politics, recontextualization of Chinese tradition


Ai Weiwei’s 艾未未 (b. 1957) artistic expression revolves around his use of traditional Chinese techniques to create new designs and forms, shaping traditional materials into contemporary configurations. In the face of obstruction from state officials and local politicians, Ai Weiwei exposes himself to considerable personal risk in order to continue his activities as an artist and stay loyal to his convictions. This paper examines the roots of Ai Weiwei’s work in Chinese art history and looks at how the artist has deliberately adapted traditional motifs to bring about a sense of alienation. Ai Weiwei’s unique stance between current trends in western art and the Chinese feeling for handicrafts is also explored.


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Author Biography

  • Tania Becker
    Tania Becker, M.A. Filozofski fakultet, Sveučilište Zagreb, Croatia; M.A. Philosophie und Geschichte Chinas, Ostasienwissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany; Ph.D. Candidate, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.


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1. 12. 2011

How to Cite

Becker, Tania. 2011. “So Sorry––Never Sorry. Ai Weiwei’s Art Between Tradition and Modernity”. Asian Studies -15 (1): 113-26.

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